Saturday, February 28, 2009

US Medicaid and Medicare Programs

In this era of rapidly rising medical, pharmaceutical and insurance costs, the American people and Congress are talking a lot about Medicare. Medicare is the federally-funded medical plan for Americans age 65 and over that covers medical expenses such as doctor's visits, hospital stays, drugs and other treatment. The need for a medical program for senior citizens became evident in the 1950s, but it was not until 1965 that Congress passed the laws that established Medicare. The law was amended in 1972 to include people with disabilities and end-stage renal disease. Medicaid was established in 1965, at the same time as Medicare, under Title XIX of the Social Security Act. It was designed to assist low-income families in providing health care for themselves and their children. It also covers certain individuals who fall below the federal poverty level. It covers hospital and doctor's visits, prenatal care, emergency room visits, drugs and other treatments.

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